Preventing Hypertension: When to Seek Treatment for High Blood Pressure

misc image

Preventing Hypertension: When to Seek Treatment for High Blood Pressure

Almost half of American women and men have high blood pressure (hypertension), along with increased risks of heart disease, stroke, kidney problems, vision problems, and other potential complications. Stunningly, the CDC says that as many as a third of those individuals don’t even know they have hypertension, largely because high blood pressure causes few or no symptoms until a serious complication occurs.

Understanding the early warning signs of hypertension is important, and so is knowing your risk factors. But ideally, you’d like to take steps to manage your blood pressure and, hopefully, avoid hypertension altogether.

At his practice in Lakeland, Florida, Sergio B. Seoane, MD, offers patient-centered treatment for high blood pressure, along with guidance and support to help women and men reduce their hypertension risks. In this post, learn what hypertension really is, when to seek medical treatment, and what you can do to help you keep your blood pressure under control.

Hypertension 101

Blood pressure refers to the pressure or force that’s exerted on the walls of your arteries as your blood circulates. Your blood pressure reading is measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg) using two numbers: one for the pressure when your heart is contracting and one for the pressure when your heart rests between beats.

Normal blood pressure includes pressures below 120/80 mm. High blood pressures are pressures of 130/80 mmHg or higher, while pressures in between those values indicate you’re at risk of developing high blood pressure (a condition called prehypertension).

If you have high blood pressure, you may be able to lower it with lifestyle changes. Many people benefit from a combination of lifestyle changes and medication.

When to seek medical treatment

High blood pressure rarely causes noticeable symptoms. When it does, those symptoms can include:

  • Headaches
  • Shortness of breath
  • Vision changes
  • Dizziness
  • Anxiety
  • Chest pain

These symptoms typically only become noticeable once high blood pressure has progressed to a more serious state, and they can also be signs of other serious and even life-threatening problems, like heart attack or stroke.

If you have any of these symptoms, it’s important to seek medical treatment right away. You should also consider having a medical evaluation if you have any of these risk factors for hypertension:

  • Smoking habit
  • Family history of hypertension, stroke, or heart problems
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Low level of physical activity
  • Poor diet (especially lots of unhealthy fats, sodium, or sugars)
  • Excess alcohol consumption (even one drink can raise your pressure)
  • Older age

You should also have an evaluation if you routinely have high blood pressure readings — specifically, above 120/80 mmHg.

Tips for managing your blood pressure

You can’t change all your risk factors, but you can take steps to lower your risks by addressing the factors you can change. Incorporating these tips can help:

  • Lose excess pounds
  • Quit smoking
  • Get some exercise every day
  • Focus on healthy, whole foods
  • Limit unhealthy fats, sodium, sugar, and processed foods
  • Limit or avoid alcohol
  • Get plenty of good-quality sleep
  • Learn stress-management techniques
  • Have regular physical exams

If you have risk factors for hypertension, you might consider investing in a blood pressure monitor to use at home, so you can keep track of your blood pressure on a regular basis.

Make your health a priority

Since high blood pressure causes few or no symptoms initially, regular office visits with blood pressure screenings help identify hypertension in its earliest stages. To learn how we can help you keep your blood pressure under control, call 863-644-2204 or request an appointment online with Dr. Seoane today.